Following on from my post yesterday which highlighted that not only are millennials using online dating apps but so are parents and grandparents – I thought it would be helpful to focus on the relentless success of Tinder and what it can help marketers and PR professionals learn about digital users.

Tinder was that uber-esque, kick-yourself-because-you-didn’t-think-of-it-first app that plagued the world. I remember the first time I saw it when a 21 year old colleague shoved it under my nose telling me how “sick” it was.

With 50 million active users and 1.7 billion swipes per day, Tinder has become a cultural phenomenon. Rather importantly, it has also taught us some valuable lessons about today’s digital consumer.


 1. Keep it Simple

Swipe right if you fancy them, swipe left if you don’t — Tinder really is just that simple! No lengthy questionnaires to complete and no confusing subscription packages. The ease and accessibility of Tinder has enabled users to integrate it seamlessly into their daily routines- having a quick scroll on their commute or lunch break.

The lesson for marketers: As mentioned – keep it simple! Brands today seem to concentrate on developing elaborate, heavily integrated, geo-targeted campaigns that shove every detail of their brand story down our throats. Consumers today are unreasonable – they have short attention spans and amazing bullsh*t detectors. A Harvard Business Review study from a few years ago confirmed this by showing the increasing amount of marketing messages is too overwhelming, not helpful.


2. Stick to what they’re used to

Tinder has been accused of being superficial and shallow; judgments are made based on a handful of photos and a short blurb. But we need to remind ourselves how dating worked before online dating – if you were in a bar or a club – you would see someone who looks pretty hot, approach them and start a conversation. No questionnaires and promises of meeting your soulmate.

It’s this behavioral trait which Tinder has simply digitalised and simplified for an online experience. Familiarity is key in the consumer buying process. Whether it’s a brand or experience, people tend to lean towards what they know.

The lesson for marketers: All the groundbreaking apps that have appeared over the past few years have focused on processes that don’t always differ radically from what already exists. Next time you have a brainstorm, why not focus on old ideas – how things used to be done and see if there is a simple way to digitise that “old fashioned process”.


3. Gamification

There is no greater adrenaline rush than a hot guy/girl confirming they are a match when you  swipe right. The pure addictiveness of Tinder could go on for hours just as you want to see if you can uncover a match. Although, this doesn’t result in prizes – it is still considered a form of gamifition.


The lesson for marketers: Creating gamification isn’t just about gaming – its about attracting, engaging and retaining . Why not consider gamification for your brand in its many forms, such as rewarding tasks with points, employing virtual currency, creating competitions or just adding game-like elements to create a fun and addictive user experience.


4. Brand loyal or brand one-night stand?

Unfortunately, like Plenty of Fish, it does look like Tinder is heading towards the title of a “hook-up” app — catering to the promiscuity of younger millennials in the digital era.

The lesson for marketers: A lot of keynote speakers will urge you to build an emotional relationship with your customers — but sometimes that’s not what they’re looking for. Consider your product – do you need an emotional relationship when purchasing FMCGs such as bleach or kitchen roll?

In the digital world, convenience, accessibility and value are driving decisions – recently highlighted in the We Are Social event I attended recently. Where we once focused on the emotional ties between a brand and consumer – it is evident that transactional experience is still rife within the consumer world and users are promiscuous with brands.

So there you have it, what Tinder can teach us about the “unreasonable consumer”. Whilst researching this article, I also found several brands who have been tapping into the Tinder user base with clever tactics. I’ll write a post on that tomorrow.